It’s winter here on the East Coast, or so the calendar would lead us to believe. It’s really not that cold, and snow has been awfully hard to come by the past few months. Anyway, spring isn’t that far away, and very soon, life will spring again in the natural world, filling our hillsides with lush trees and our gardens with plants and flowers.
It’s fitting, then, that Dutch black metal enigma Fluisteraars has returned to our world with their imaginative third record “Bloem,” a collection of songs that takes flowers as its primary guiding point. All you have to do is look at the dreamy album cover to know that and then dig into these songs, which are lush and rich, brimming with life and violence. At the same time, flowers eventually decay and also can be symbols of death, giving them a duality that makes their presence even more meaningful. “Bloem” is the band’s first new record in five years (the last one was 2015’s “Luwte”), and it develops even deeper than what we heard from them in the past, and they’ve never exactly adhered to borders. What we get from Fluisteraars—vocalist/lyricist Bob Mollema and guitarist/drummer/primary songwriter Mink Koops—is a further trip into black metal’s earthy terrain where emotion is at its apex, and the color palette from which the music is drawn is vast and free.
“Tere Muur” opens the record with stiff punches before the melody unloads, and the music fires up. Scathing vocals begin to chew at the senses as the playing rushes hard, and absolute mental chaos in unleashed. Power continues to spill as tremendous storming arrives, and the track ends with a furious blast. “Nasleep” has guitars stampeding and a delirious assault as destruction spreads itself, only to be swallowed by echoes. Hypnotic calls mix with strange interference, and then the track stomps ahead, simmering in sound. Keys drip through a dreamy sequence, and then the track comes back to life, gazey clouds collect, and a mid-tempo surge ends the song in the atmosphere.
“Eeuwige Ram” starts with, you guessed it, plenty of melody as the howled vocals whip through a blood surge of playing. The ambiance then thickens and plays tricks with your mind, while the song gets catchy and mesmerizing. Horns and synth combine to add another layer of meaning, while the final two minutes of the song stage a spirited, rustling jaunt. “Vlek” unloads with a hail of nails and scraping vocals, creating a scene that’s dangerous and bloody. Gusty playing then meets up with a folkish sequence, bringing some calm to this piece. The power kicks back in as the riffs enrapture, and an extended section of playing allows the band time to develop a spirit. Torches burn and are held aloft, while the song pours its guts until it has no more to give. “Maanruïne” ends the record by turning up a fluid vision that is broken up by vicious growls. Acoustics and horns take over, bustling and ripping through the weeds, before breezy “woah-oh” chants arrive. The song remains heartfelt and blood-surging before acoustics return, and a thick fog creates a place for the track to disappear.
Fluisteraars’ music isn’t likely for those faux tough dudes with rigid tastes who think black metal can be one thing and one thing only. “Bloem” is proof that the rewards are even greater when artists push beyond and paint with strokes that so many others fear to try. This is sweeping, heartfelt music that feels like a storm is brewing, eventually saturating the ground and making it possible for life to bloom eternal from it.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/fluisteraars
To buy the album, go here: https://store.eisenton.de/en/
For more on the label, go here: https://www.eisenton.de/